Holiday Shopping Guide - Newborn to 3 Years Old
Getting a great gift for a little one can be some of the most fulfilling gifts purchased during the holiday season. A child’s unfiltered excitement around the magic of the holidays combined with a gift that sparks their interest is overwhelmingly heartwarming. And so as the holiday season creeps up on us and the impacts of COVID linger, our team is pulling together a shopping guide designed to help you create the magic for little ones.
This guide will focus specifically on children ages newborn to three years old with interests that vary and prices that range so there is something for everyone. This guide will specifically focus on toys with limited to no need for batteries.
Let’s start with the little ones: Newborn-1 year old.
Walkers that include activities: Key items to look for when choosing a walker
is that it includes a brake and items that will grow with your child. Here are a few examples:
- Activity center: Make sure your activity centers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Know the theme you are looking for and then how many activities you’d like included (3, 4, or maybe even 7)
- Music Table: These come in all shapes and sizes and typically include a small xylophone, drum and maybe even a cymbal. They typically sit a few inches off the ground and are great for when your little one is just starting to sit or even when they are able to stand and move it to a table top.
- Sensory Ball: Is there anything better than a great ball? These combine the basic joy of a ball with sensory inspired textures and visuals. Look for ones that are a good size for your little one’s fingers and make sure they don’t have a small hole that can get filled with drool or water. Those are mold machines.
- Zippee: Pulling is one of the big achievements for little ones and once they can do it, they won’t stop. The Zippee is one of our favorites for this age as it is made of organic plastic, is great to teeth on and engages all of the sensory skills we are trying so hard to build.
- Inny Bin: If you’ve been in our store, you’ve heard me rave about the Fat Brain Toy line-up and the Inny Bin is no exception. This toy is a hit in the store and in my own house. Teaching little ones to pull different sized shapes and textures is not only entertaining but also keeps their attention.
Next up are the 2 and 3 year old children:
This age is a bit tricky in that they are starting to explore toys that are probably good for a 3+ BUT they often include little parts that could pose a choking hazard. When purchasing a toy for a 2 and 3 year old, be sure to look at the pieces and know where your child is developmentally. If they are an advanced 2 year old OR you will provide monitored play, toys for 3+ could be better suited. As a result, I have grouped these ages together.
$75 and up options:
Scooter: 2 is when children typically enter into the scooter worthy age group. Additionally, it is a great way to get those little legs around when walking with mom. When choosing a scooter, make sure the handle and steering system is appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Here we prefer Micro Scooters due to the two size options and steering. These are often used for children in early intervention and have cool light-up wheels that make them easy to see in the evening.
- Kitchen Set: Pretend play all day. Both 2 and 3 year olds are entering and mastering the world of pretend play. Choose a kitchen that not only will keep your child’s attention but isn’t terrible to look at (as it will probably be a key feature in your play area). We happen to love the PlanToys Kitchen Set.
- Road System: Choosing a road system is important if you want to be able to continue to build over the years. As your child leans more into pretend play, cars become more and more of a key feature. My recommendation is to get something that can easily be changed to maximize attention span but is also high quality to continue to play throughout the years. The WaytoPlay system is durable but also provides a variety of sizes and packs to choose from and build on.
- Balance Board: Living in the Northeast means making sure that there are plenty of options to keep toddlers busy inside. The balance board provides hours of open-ended play all while building up balance and core strength. Check out this PlanToys Balance Board that will grow with your little one.
- Doll House: These are not what they used to be. Doll houses are now designed to be large fixtures in the playroom, light and on-the-go options as well as modern and gender neutral. 2 and 3 are a great age to introduce a Doll house to your home as long as you choose something that is appropriate for your little one and prevent possible choking hazards.
- Usborn Sticker and Find books: These are a staple and great for not only engaging your little one but you can buy basically any theme to match their interest. The best part is that there is so much to see and do, that they can play with the books over and over.
DJ Mixing Board: (slightly over the price range at $60) this brings pretend play to a whole new level. Grab this set to have your little ones pretend to be running the best party with their musical choice. This is a fan favorite among our staff.
- Truck Building Set: We love nothing more than activities and crafts that then turn into a toy that can live on. These truck building sets are the perfect gift for anyone looking for an activity and a great toy. Find the truck that is their favorite, have them build it with mom and day and then continue to play.
- Geometric Peg Board: These puzzle-like boards promote sorting as well as color and shape recognition. The key is to find with enough ways to play so that your little one doesn’t get bored but also doesn’t get confused. PlanToys board is great to both learn and play.
- Tegu Blocks: These take blocks to the next level introducing a light magnetic pull to help build different shapes and towels. Well-made, these are perfect for rough play as well as play on the go.
None of these got you excited? Browse our entire catalog online here or head into the store and we can walk through different options.